WorldSpace, the pioneers in direct-to-reciever broadcasting, is launching 3 new stations this month- Classic Rock, International Retro and Latin American music. Also expected soon, is WorldSpace’s latest multimedia kit for corporates and organizations, which will enable an organization to allow specific receivers to download information via a password or an identification number. This service will also allow interactivity amongst people who have the multimedia kit at different ends.
According to M.Sebastian, Director, Business Development, Worldspace, “The three new stations are being launched keeping in mind, our philosophy of offering a unique bouquet of stations to varied people with varied tastes. Our second service is the multimedia kit. By simply connecting ones laptop to the WorldSpace receiver, this service would allow one to download data at five times the speed of the Internet.”
Apart from the above two services that are on the cards, WorldSpace is also in the process of finalizing a subscription fee for some of their channels. Says Sebastian, “We would perhaps provide 20 free channels and get people to pay a nominal sum for 7 others.”
At the moment, most of the revenue for Worldspace comes from their broadcasters. Though there is absolutely no advertising on the Worldspace channels, Sebastian hopes that the medium would soon attract advertising to add on to their revenue. He says, “Broadcasters like Asianet or BPL pay us for the use of Asiastar. Once advertising happens on WorldSpace, they would get their revenue by advertising.”
The sales of WorldSpace receivers have reached 35,000 plus. Sebastian feels that the credit for the same goes to word of mouth. The company hasn’t however had too many advertising and marketing campaigns because of the shortage of recievers in the market. Only BPL manufactures these recievers in India at the moment. According to Sebastian, “Importing recievers from Japan was proving to be expensive because of the high customs duties and taxes. Now we are looking towards other regions such as Korea, Indonesia and China for recievers.”
While the sales figures for WorldSpace are rising slowly but surely, with more FM Radio players entering the market, competition seems to be rising as well. However, WorldSpace’s take on competition remains unchanged.
Explains Sebastian, “Worldspace came to India at a time when not too much thought was being given to radio. Radio was often seen as a “brand reminder” rather than a “brand builder” and media planners gave it minimal priority. Now, with more FM entrants, things are changing. However, we do not look upon FM as competition. They operate on a level different from ours. They have an array of local shows in Hindi, English and the regional language, and popular RJs to host their shows. We, like them, have variety as well, but in the form of different channels for Jazz, rock, spiritual music and the like”.